The rhizosphere is the narrow region of soil that is directly influenced by root secretions and associated soil microorganisms. This tiny microcosm is rich in interactions between plants, microorganisms, and abiotic factors that can have implications for agriculture and beyond. For instance, we know that plant roots secrete compounds that help them to deter pathogens. These same compounds may have activities relevant to human health as anti-infective or anti-cancer compounds. We also know that plant chemicals can have profound effects on the soil microbial communities. By understanding these effects we can find ways to manipulate agroecosystems for better crop yields with lower inputs, enrich soils with bacteria that are useful for phytoremediation, or for lignin degradation, and even understand better how the chemicals in the foods we eat affect our native microflora with an overarching goal of improving human and animal health.
Our specific research projects focus on studies related to the processes that control root secretion in plants and on the chemical signalling that occurs between plants and other organisms in their environments in the following areas.
- Plant Transporters
- Plant-Microbe Interactions
- Biomedical Agriculture
Courses I Teach:
HORT 401 – Medicinal and Value-Added Uses of Plants
HORT 601 – Current Topics in Root and Rhizosophere Biology
Course syllabi are available here